Andy Murray aims to return to Davis Cup against Russia after 18-month absence

World No 3 keen to play in tie next April as Britain bid to get back into the World Group

Tokyo

Andy Murray is aiming to make his first Davis Cup appearance for more than 18 months when Britain resume their attempt to regain a place in the elite World Group next year. Murray, who left here yesterday for this week's Shanghai Masters following his defeat by Milos Raonic in the semi-finals of the Japan Open, missed both of Britain's encounters this year but hopes to play in the home tie against Russia next April.

Like all the other top players, Murray has sometimes been unavailable to play in the Davis Cup because the dates have not fitted in with his own schedule. However, the 25-year-old Scot has already talked to Leon Smith, Britain's captain, about playing in the next tie, which falls at a reasonably convenient time between the Miami Masters and the start of the European clay-court season.

"As with all of the Davis Cup matches, I've always said that I would like to play when it's do-able," Murray said. "I spoke to Leon four days before I came over here. We had a pretty long discussion. We spoke about a number of different things with regards to the tie. We're going to chat again early next year to make a final decision on it. But it will be an exciting match, probably one of the biggest Davis Cup ties that I will have been involved in. Russia are a top tennis team, so it would be good to play in it."

For the moment Murray will be focusing on the Shanghai Masters, for which he is feeling in good shape after a useful week here in his first tournament since winning the US Open last month. The world No 3's run ended in a hard-fought defeat to Raonic, who won 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 after recovering from 4-1 down in the deciding set and saving two match points.

Murray is aiming to win Shanghai for the third year in succession but admitted that he struggled to adjust to the conditions in China 12 months ago. "The conditions there are very different to here," he said. "The court here is quicker but the balls are extremely heavy and hard, so it feels like you can really rip the ball and it doesn't fly on you; whereas the balls that they use in Shanghai are very light and the court is very gritty, very slow."

After a first-round bye Murray will play Bernard Tomic or Florian Mayer. Thereafter he is seeded to face Gilles Simon and John Isner before a semi-final meeting with Roger Federer, whom he has beaten in both their previous meetings in Shanghai. The top seeds in the other half of the draw are Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych. Djokovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 6-2 in yesterday's final of the China Open in Beijing.

Federer admitted that a death threat made against him on a website had been "a little bit of a distraction" in his preparations for Shanghai, but insisted that it had nothing to do with the fact that his wife and children have not travelled with him to China. He said he had been made aware of the threat 10 days ago and was disappointed that it had been made public at the end of last week.

"It was something just very small on a website, nothing clear and concrete," Federer said. "You have to be aware of what's happening around you but that is the case anyway anywhere I go today."

Raonic would have been on the brink of the world's top 10 if he had claimed the title here, but it was Kei Nishikori who won yesterday's final 7-6, 3-6, 6-0 to become the first home player ever to win the Japan Open, which is the longest running ATP tournament in Asia. It was first held in 1972.

Having dropped his serve only once – to Murray – in his previous matches in the tournament, Raonic was broken four times by Nishikori. "Kei is so quick and he was reading my serves well, which doesn't usually happen," Raonic said afterwards.

An attacking and creative player, 22-year-old Nishikori has become one of the most exciting young talents on the tour. The biggest win of his life is likely to see him climb two places to a career-high position of No 15 in today's updated world rankings list.

Nishikori, who has been based at Nick Bollettieri's academy in Florida since he was 14, first broke through in 2008, when he won a tournament at Delray Beach, but his career was derailed by a serious elbow injury which required surgery. At one stage he feared whether he would ever play again, but he has steadily worked his way back up the world rankings, reaching the top 50 last April and the top 20 at the start of this year.

"It's absolutely unbelievable to win in Japan," Nishikori said. "I'd never played well in Japan, but after beating Tomas Berdych I felt I'd broken that wall down. My target now is to reach the top 10."

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?